Smart Irrigation at Western Kentucky University
The newest inititiative in greening our campus grounds is a "smart" irrigation system installed on the main campus, athletic fields, and intramural fields. Part of the Energy Savings Performance Contract, the new irrigation control system and low flow irrigation heads will significantly reduce campus water consumption.
The system uses state-of-the-art control modules, climate interpretation devices and real-time alert system. One of the most unique features is the ET gauge and rain bucket. The ET gauge measures the current evapo-transpiration (ET) rate and compares that to historical ET rates, dispensing water accordingly based on the soil and plant demand at that particular time in the growing season. The rain bucket is like most rain gauges except this one will shut the irrigation systems down in the even of precipitation.
The new system also integrates a cycling system which will rotate the irrigation run times to accommodate for percolation into the soil. This unique feature minimizes the amount of surface runoff due to soil saturation.